My e-mail and blog titles are usually great conversation starters. Some of you might just think it’s just me being weird (which I am!), but it has a spiritual meaning. It’s based on 2 Corinthians 2:15-16. Oddly enough my sister Leslie is writing a devotional book and sent me this chapter from it, which sums it up pretty well.
Spiritual Body Odor
My teenage daughter, Stephanie, came to me one day in tears. She felt overwhelmed with rejection from a group of kids at school. She is so burdened in her heart for them – and has been praying for them for years. These are kids she used to hang around a lot, but recently she has not been around them because they have been making wrong decisions, leaving their faith and getting into things they promised they never would.
It’s heartbreaking when your children are suffering. But when they suffer for the sake of the gospel, there is heartbreak mixed with blessing beyond measure. I prayed under my breath as she finished pouring her heart out to me. She wondered why they didn’t like to be around her anymore. She wondered why her presence guaranteed a majority of them would clear the room. How could they treat my baby like this? Can’t they see how what a beautiful, pure heart she has? Can’t they see how much she loves them?
That’s when it hit me. It was almost immediate. 2 Corinthians 2:15-16! I immediately grabbed my Bible that I had read just minutes before she approached me. I was in that particular chapter and had underlined those verses. They were so fresh in my mind I could have quoted them, but I wanted her to read it for herself.
She was still crying as she read “For we are the God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life”. She looked up from the page and said “What’s that mean, mom?”.
I said “Well, this verse tells us that when you walk in a room, people who do not know Christ find you offensive – sort of a ‘spiritual body odor’ that makes them cringe. I told her that it was actually a good thing, though. As offensive as she is to them, it’s only because they are feeling convicted. Their conviction was not because of anything she did or said specifically, but because of Whose she is. God, on the other hand, thinks she is the fragrance of life! He is enamored with her – and her prayers and praises are like incense to Him.
That people were finding her hard to be around was not such a bad thing. Jesus said we will be persecuted when we follow him. Jesus also said the world will hate us because of Him. And Paul told the Galatians in chapter 1, verse 10 that he was not trying to please men, but God only. He said if he were trying to please men, he would not be a servant of Christ.
My daughter’s face lit up. She realized how alive scripture is at that moment. It was so relevant, so real to her. And it was as if the Lord was speaking directly to her heart. She let go of her pain, and realizing the importance of her witness, she was free to be herself without putting expectations on others for her happiness.
Are you experiencing any persecution in your life? Are there people in your life who don’t seem to want to be around you anymore? If so, take heart – You are the fragrance of life to the Lord! In John 15:20 Jesus said “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you!”. Consider it all joy – God is obviously working in your life if it’s “offensive” enough for people to notice!
2 Corinthians 2:15-16 “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such task?”